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At the Movies

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Album Review

Though Mel Tormé's film work was better than most, he's always been known as a jazz singer, best suited to formats like a live concert or a concept LP. During the '40s and '50s, the Hollywood movie machine spit out a lot of subpar pop material, luring singers to croon dozens of conservative songs with "champagne music" backing. Though it spans his entire career, from the mid-'40s into the '90s, At the Movies includes much material from the '40s, in the singer's much-maligned Velvet Fog period. Fortunately, the collection includes not only songs Tormé sang expressly for films but also his own versions of songs made famous in the movies, like "Blue Moon," "Sunday in New York," and "Puttin' on the Ritz." It's a solid compilation for collectors (six unreleased tracks), but isn't an incredibly good start for anyone unfamiliar with Tormé's best work.


Born: 13 September 1925 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Mel Tormé was a jazz-oriented pop singer who worked at his craft steadily from the '40s to the '90s, primarily in nightclubs and concert halls. In his 1988 autobiography, It Wasn't All Velvet (its title a reference to his nickname, "The Velvet Fog," bestowed upon him by a disc jockey in the '40s to describe his husky, wide-ranging voice), he mentioned a wish that he had been born ten years earlier, that is, in 1915 rather than 1925. If he had had his wish, Tormé would have been an exact contemporary...
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At the Movies, Mel Tormé
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